Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fishing Northeastern Maryland at the Intersection of Good Luck, Good Planning, and Perfect Weather

I really wanted a better photo of this hog, but he was tough to hold onto, and ultimately I wanted him to go home unharmed!
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Once again, work took me up into the northeastern corner of Maryland. My last trip up here was a really fun one as I was able to get in a few casts before a long day of work travel. There were a lot of variables, including a "late" start (in fishing terms...left the house at 7am), a serious cold front moving through the same morning, and the fact that it's now post-spawn for bass in our area. I really had no idea how it would go, but I figured it was worth a try.
Another nice largemouth caught on light tackle
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As I sped northeast up the highway, with the storm bearing down on me from the southwest, I tried to make peace with the fact that this could be an awful trip - from bad weather, to spawn-related "weirdness" with fish feeding patterns, to - worst of all - more people fishing the area due to our recent warm weather.....I had no idea what would happen.
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As usual, I started by "indicator fishing" with ultralight tackle (the Pflueger UL Razor Tip is a charm!). Empty first cast, UL lure disfigured by large sunfish (missed the hook) on second cast, 11" largemouth on 4th cast. Time to move to bigger gear.
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For reasons I'm too emotional to discuss ("snap!"), I am no longer fishing my famed BPS Wally Marshall Light Spinning Rod. Man, I caught a lot of nice fish on that rod. I have actually moved a step up to the BPS Micro-Lite Rod (Light/Fast Action) and using the same Okuma Avenger reel that I used on the Wally Marshall. I have mixed feelings about the new rod so far. It's extremely sensitive on the strike (which is good) but during fish retrieval, the rod feels really "dead," and I couldn't tell much difference between the biggest fish I caught (first picture in this post) and some of the larger bluegills. In fact, when I got the big guy to the surface, I was not prepared to deal with him - I was just thinking, "get him over land! Get him over land!" And "Sweet! 3 pounder!"
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For the first 30 minutes of fishing, I mixed up different sizes and colors of Yo-Zuri Pin Minnows (all 1.6" to 2"). The big boy at the top of this post was caught on the black and silver pin minnow. Other nice fish were caught on the green/white and the black/blue/silver.
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I took a stab at other hard baits, including the "Ghost Walk X-Rap" (see below), and had some success. The rain appeared after about an hour, and as the sun came over the trees, the bite slowed down quite a bit. I threw some soft plastics out with pretty minimal results.

This fish looks small until you realize the lure is a 4" X-Rap
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Ultimately, in 2 hours I caught about 9 or 10 bass and maybe 8 large pumpkinseed and bluegills. Compared to my last visit to this site, when I caught (I recall) 6 bass and 18? bluegills in 90 minutes. I think the change is a result of my restricting myself to using larger lures and staying away from visible schools of small sunfish. And of course, the falling barometer during this fishing adventure did not hurt one bit!


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The water was stained from the vegetation and maybe even from some runoff, so just for fun, I took a page out of Tugboatdude's fishing manual and threw a black inline spinner out there. It worked, ha ha!

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